Monday, September 1, 2014

MONDAY MUSINGS—HI-YO SILVER…


Welcome to September. Where the heck did the summer go? I hope you all had a good summer. Mine was far from the projected summer of relaxation and more balls to the wall busy. August has been intense training for a new aspect of my job while maintaining my normal work schedule. Insane.



Have you seen the new Lone Ranger movie? We saw it this past weekend on DVD. It's not a bad movie. Johnny Depp took a good role. Both my husband and I grew up watching The Lone Ranger and of course they were reruns on TV by the time we watched them. It was a special childhood memory for us both. So watching this movie elicited quite a discussion in the McKye household. Comparisons and memories.
There were a ton of westerns on when I grew up and my dad loved them. If you wanted to watch the one TV in our house you watched them, too.  My dad even had a western revolver with a gun belt and holster. Let me tell you, he practiced with that gun and was very fast on the draw and he was a good shot. Well, many a target died. J There were a couple of his friends that were big into that sort of thing, too. I still remember that gun with dark maroon cherry wood handles. It was fancy and my dad liked to dress in black when he practiced—the ultimate western fantasy. There is an old record album of Marty Robbins’ western ballads where he is dressed in all black in the middle of a draw—it’s on a dark pink background (seriously, pink?). We have a picture of my dad in a similar pose only he was much better looking than Marty and had a well developed chest and arms—he came by them honestly in construction. Made old Marty look a bit puny.  J

wiki commons
I've never been a big fan of westerns and I'm still not although there are a few I like. The Lone Ranger was okay. It was entertaining and I loved Tonto and Silver was the coolest horse ever. I liked the fact that the good guys won and that they were tough but honorable men who lived by a code.

Clayton Moore played a strong character and that character became an American icon. Clayton Moore’s Lone Ranger (based on the original stories) was strong minded, heroic, and a tough man. He was larger than life. There was nothing wimpy about him. The Lone Ranger was an excellent marksman, he excelled in hand-to-hand combat, and in today’s standards he would be an
Public Domain
above average athlete. He was the last surviving member of a group of six Texas Rangers that were ambushed and killed by the outlaws they were chasing. His brother was the captain of the Ranger group—Captain Dan Reid. It was in honor of his brother that he wore the mask made from his brother’s vest and fought for justice.  

I don’t think the Lone Ranger ever killed anyone except, I think, by a ricochet shot. If you remember the silver bullets were a personal reminder to him that life was precious and not to be taken unnecessarily.  It seemed he was always disabling them without a killing shot or shooting the gun out of their hand (amazing how accurate he was considering those are some very hard shots to make). It was the times, folks. Good won and evil was never glorified and always lost.

 
Lone Ranger Wallpaper
I've seen a lot of negative comments on The Lone Ranger movie. Part of it was the way the way Armie Hammer portrayed the Lone Ranger. Kind of weak and wishy-washy—I know it annoyed me. Tonto irritated others. A couple that made me laugh was about the portrayal of Tonto vs Native American culture. No, it’s not particularly politically correct but we’re talking about the historical period of 1868. C’mon people, prejudice abounded in that time frame against Indians. Most Native-Americans were caught between their heritage and fitting into the white world. You can’t rewrite history as much as you might wish to and even in today’s era of politically correct verbiage, prejudice is still just hiding behind the words. If you have lived where there is an Indian reservation and/or a large population of Native-Americans, I can assure you there is still a certain disdain in the general populace. 

As writers we know if we're depicting a particular historical period there is a need for good research so you cover the mores, dress and accoutrements and at least the flavor of the vernacular of the times. I have several nitpicks along that line in The Lone Ranger movie but the most grating to me were the weapons. Most of the pistols used post Civil War were Dragoon .44 caliber conversions
take the old cap and ball and convert it to cartridge guns. Lot of experimental handguns in the late 1860's by both Remington and Colt. Some were fancy and engraved others just serviceable. Smith and Wesson got into the act in the 1870's onward.  I want to point out The Lone Ranger is using a colt in 1868 that wasn't made until 1876. Hello—fact checkers?

The movie itself was good. Cons: Lone Ranger was rather wimpy in the beginning and he’s sort of depicted as a city dude and wrongly as an attorney. He toughened up (but it took way too long since he should have been tough from outset) and became a hero. It had a bit more focus on Tonto then it should have and while he was always a main character in the original he never dwarfed the Lone Ranger. It wasn't Tonto and the Lone Ranger. The movie was a bit long and could have been edited a bit to give it a tighter storyline.

Still, it was entertaining, has some funny moments, and worth watching.


  • Have you seen it? What did you think?

       

Monday, August 25, 2014

MONDAY MUSINGS—FIRST YOU NEED A BUCKET OF ICE…



Then video camera…

Everywhere you look on social media or in the news there is someone doing the ice bucket challenge. Standing in one place and having a bucket of ice poured over the head. What in the world?

It’s an eye-catching gimmick but for a cause—raising money for a charitable cause or organizations.  The gimmick works because people want to see it and you-tube is full of them, neighborhoods and news media cover them, and the rich and the famous participate with the accompanying media. It draws the attention to various charities or community needs. 

Of course there are variations of it, like with actor and active member of the Louisiana police force, Orlando Jones, with his bucket of bullet casings. His challenge had to do with an issue rather than a charity. He said, in an interview, 
I wanted to do…talk about the insanity happening in Ferguson and just around the world. Those shell casings in my video represent the people who paid the ultimate cost for the freedoms we have today. I couldn’t find enough bullets to dump on myself to illustrate the number of people who gave their lives for a very important ideal.” 
- See more at: http://madamenoire.com/460952/bullet-bucket-challenge/#sthash.V96bbiKN.dpuf

Not a bad idea but it’s nothing new.


In the early 1900’s there was a practice of dunking, swimming, plunging into an icy body of water in the winter. Polar bear plunge certainly got attention and it also was used for charitable causes and usually had multiple participants and well publicized. A side note here is the polar bear plunge hasn’t been used just for raising money for a particular charity but held as a New Year tradition in many places of the world.

Communities have used a variation of it in fairs (and community street fairs) for charity. I’m sure you’ve seen the dunking booths. Usually someone of note from the community sits in a chair or on a bench and people pay a fee for the privilege of throwing a ball or series of balls at a target that releases the chair and drops the person into the water. In my neck of the woods when the police chief took a turn in the chair (several community leaders take a turn on that day) there was quite a windfall of funds raised. Hey, work out your aggressions in a safe manner and raise money at the same time? A good thing and I have to say, I was impressed with how accurate the participants were and how much time the chief spent in the dunking pool Lol! All the money raised by selling those balls to throw go to a designated community need—might be for the local school or library, build a community park, adding funds for the operation of the fire department, for repairing damage from storms, and that’s just a few reasons my town held them.


  • What about you? What do you think about this latest craze?

  • Have you done the ice-bucket challenge? Maybe you've participated in a winter polar plunge or bought a ball or two for a community-dunking booth?


Monday, August 18, 2014

MONDAY MUSINGS—A SAD STATE OF AFFAIRS





I rarely involve myself publicly in controversial subjects and it’s not my intent to do so now. However, I hate dishonorable behavior in those sworn to act in honor. I abhor injustice. I deplore prejudice although I know we all have some within us no matter how hard we try to root it out and I’m not talking  just racial but in all it’s forms.

I’m the first to admit that while our justice system is based on sound principles the execution of those principles is not always equitable, handled in a timely fashion, and there are a few loopholes that you can drive a compact car through, but it is still better than many systems out there. There are those who try to make sure the original legal intent is in place and adjustments for current affairs are fair and impartial. I do believe, however flawed it is, in giving the justice system a chance to work The laws in this country are also based on sound principles and the hardworking police forces through out the country are tasked with keeping law and order within our communities. They’re not perfect and yes, a few march to their own drummer or think they are above the laws they’re tasked with enforcing. Still without such a peace force I shudder to think what we would have to face.

None of these is a perfect system but without them we couldn't function.

Kate Santichen-ABC News
Here in Missouri we currently have a mess. It’s such a sad state of affairs and heartbreaking in so many ways. The scenes coming from here out to the world show a war zone. It looks like something from a third world country in the middle of a revolution and not from a country who touts it’s the home of the free and the brave and with a three hundred and five (305’) foot statute and pedestal declaring “Liberty Enlightening The World.”  I’m afraid things are far from enlightened in parts of St. Louis right now.

It certainly shouldn't be a place an unarmed person can be shot down in the street like a rabid dog by one who took the Oath of Honor (as all police 
Kansas City officers taking the oath.
officers must): 
On my honor,I will never betray my badge1,my integrity, my character, or the public trust.I will always havethe courage to hold myselfand others accountable for our actions.I will always uphold the constitution
my community and the agency I serve.

There is some hard work ahead. Some serious investigations that must take place and ownership of wrongdoing must be accepted. Changes must be made.

My heartfelt thoughts are with all involved—those who grieve, those who again must find their honor, and with those who are tasked with examining the situation and giving justice.


Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety. Benjamin Franklin 1755


Monday, August 4, 2014

MONDAY MUSINGS—WHEN LIFE HANDS YOU LEMONS…





Life has a way of handing out surprises, doesn't it? It’s part of living day to day. Experience has taught me when dealing with life’s ups and downs it’s all about attitude. The right attitude means we take things that happen in stride. By the way, when we stride it means moving (walking, pacing, and crawling—lol!) forward. In other words we don’t let life’s surprises and dilemmas stop us. It’s okay, in my opinion, to pause long enough to assimilate the whatever the issue is and look for the right path to take but never let it trap you in quickset concrete so you can’t move. I’m a firm believer in having good friends and lots of humor to help move you along. J

My funny bone decided to share a few recipes for lemons. Besides, making things with those lemons gives you something constructive to do while thinking things out. J

Lemonade
1gallon

2 cups sugar (l prefer about 1 ½ cups)
1cup hot water
2 cups of fresh lemon juice (4-6 lemons per cup of juice remove seeds but I leave the pulp)      
1 lemon sliced to float in the lemonade

In a gallon container, place sugar and add hot water, and stir until dissolved. Or if you’re one who likes to use simple syrup for your ice tea or lemonade:
In a small saucepan, bring a cup of water to a boil and stir in the sugar until it dissolves. Allow it to cool. Can be stored, covered in the refrigerator a few days. 

Add fresh lemon juice and cold water to make up a gallon.

It’s easy to be creative and customize by adding pureed strawberries or raspberries. Or add a cup or two of cranberry juice to the gallon. Makes it pink but adds a refreshing taste to your lemonade.

Glazed Lemon Bread
1 loaf

4 ounces (1 stick) of softened butter
1 cup minus 1 tbsp of sugar
1 tbsp of honey
2 eggs at room temp (eggs rise better when at room temp)
1 tbsp of lemon zest
½ teaspoon of salt
½ cup of milk (I use whole milk)
1-½ cups of flour
½ teaspoon of ground cardamom
1 teaspoon of baking powder

Glaze:
¼ cup of lemon juice
1/3-cup sugar
1 tbsp honey

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a 4x8-inch loaf pan.
2. Beat the butter until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the sugar and honey; continue to beat until creamy, a few minutes more. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition to incorporate. On low speed, slowly beat the milk in. Do not worry if the mixture looks a little curdled. Mix in lemon zest.
3. Sift together the flour, salt, cardamom, baking powder. Add to the wet ingredients, beating until smooth.
4. Place batter in prepared pan and bake for 1 hour at 350°F.
5. While the lemon bread is baking, prepare the glaze. Heat the glaze ingredients - lemon juice, sugar, honey - in a small saucepan until the sugar is completely dissolved.
6. Once you have removed the bread from the oven, poke holes all over the top with a thin skewer (this will help the glaze penetrate). Spoon the glaze over it while the bread is still in the pan and is still hot. Let cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan and slicing to serve.



Have a great week!


Monday, July 21, 2014

Monday Musings: Happy Watermelon Month!

NOTE: Hi, this is Kat Sheridan. Sia asked me to repost this happy article from last July for you to enjoy again. Her computer is in the shop until later in the week, so she won't be able to comment, and I'm recovering from surgery (and thus, a little loopy!) but I think we can all appreciate this juicy article!








I’m a pretty traditional gal. Oh, I have my adventurous moments but for the most part I’m pretty tried and true.




This past week I had a hankering for watermelon. Tis the season you know. J In fact, July is National Watermelon month. So, here I am in the produce section of my local store and I wheeled my cart right on up to the nice display of melons. Thumped and smelled and chose a couple of cantaloupes and a nice watermelon. I’m the major consumer of melons in my house so the watermelon was a smaller one and so pretty.



I found a nice place for it in the refrigerator. Friday was the day. Got my watermelon out and sliced. My jaw drops. WTF? What happened to my watermelon?



It was yellow.



Yellow?? Peaches are yellow, mangoes and pineapple are yellow. Watermelons are bright red or deep pink. Not yellow. I sniff. Smells like a watermelon. I sliced a little piece and cautiously take a taste…okay, it tastes like a watermelon. Sort of. But, but…it’s YELLOW.



I say sort of, because there is a difference. Texture of the fruit is a bit lighter and finer and the taste is sweeter. Almost like a touch of honey to it. It a bit sweeter than I like, but it’s good and this would be nice change in a summer fruit salad, watermelon berry salad, or watermelon cucumber salad (which is very good, by the way). I prefer the flesh of the red fruit.





Tonight, I’m in my office and I hear the refrigerator door open.



“What the hell…?! Mom, what is this? 

 “Its a watermelon, son.” 

 “It’s yellow. Is it spoiled?” 

 “Nope. Just a different color.” 

 “Huh. It looks weird. When did they start making watermelon yellow? Is it any good?” 

 I roll my eyes. “Why don’t you taste it and see what you think?” I figure the kitchen would be better place to have this conversation, so I walk in to find my son poking the watermelon like it was a dangerous alien. He bends his head and sniffs. 

 “It smells like a watermelon. Have you had any of it?” 

 “Obviously so, since half of it is gone, I’m still breathing, too.” He squares his shoulders and lifts the watermelon. 

 I grab the watermelon just before teeth meets yellow. “Oh no you don’t, buddy. Here’s a spoon. Scoop out a piece.” 

 “Wow. It’s really sweet.” Scoops out another bite for testing purposes you understand.



I recognize the look on his face and rescued my watermelon again and cut off a slice for him to eat.  It’s the same look mothers of grazing teen males understand. It’s the same look he gets when he’s looking in the fridge for something to eat but grabs the gallon of milk to guzzle and fortify him before choosing something to eat.



So, watermelon isn't just red anymore. Who would have thunk it? 




If you will excuse me, I'm going to go eat my purple, yellow, and orange tomato salad with purple cauliflower bits and crumbled feta cheese and contemplate some yellow watermelon for dessert. Who knows, maybe next time I'll add the yellow watermelon to the salad mix.








  • Have you had any of the yellow watermelon? Did you know it was yellow flesh when you bought it or were you as surprised as I was when you cut into it?

Monday, July 14, 2014

MONDAY'S MUSINGS—SHARING LAUGHTER

Laughter isn't just the best medicine, it’s life’s saving grace.






Do you like to laugh? Goof around with friends and giggle and laugh? Tell jokes? Watch funny movies?

Laughter is such a great freebie in life. It’s contagious. It helps us cope with things, resets our mood, and makes our body healthier.


Did you also know when laughter, humor, and a playful spirit become an integrated part of your life your creativity increases (good news for writers, eh)? Indulging in play with family, friends and coworkers makes you more relaxed. It creates a positive attitude and gives you needed balance in your perspective of situations and life. Being playful and sharing laughter helps solve problems and connect with others. It gives you moments of joy and happiness. Age has nothing to do with our sense of fun and play. We can and should indulge in play regardless of our age.

Laughter is a powerful remedy to stress, pain, and conflict. Nothing works faster or more dependably to bring your mind and body back into balance than a good laugh. There are numerous physiological changes in our body as a result of laughter.

For instance:

Laughter relaxes your body. Did you know that a good round of laughter will relieve stress and tension and relax your muscles up to 45 minutes later. 
It also helps focus your mind. Perhaps that’s why those in dangerous jobs tend to joke and poke at one another—think soldiers, police, and firefighters just to name a few. 
Laughter also releases the body's feel good chemicals—endorphins. This chemical can temporarily relieve pain or reduce it dramatically. 
Laughter makes the heart feel good. It reduces stress; helps increase the function of blood vessels, which increases the blood flow. Win-win for the cardiovascular system. 
Laughter boosts the immune system by decreasing stress hormones and increasing the immune cells and antibodies. Those help fight off disease.

There are moments in life it’s hard to smile much less laugh. When you’re in a state of sadness, you have further to travel to get to humor and laughter. In reality, this is when you need the laughter the most.

We've lost five precious people in my family. I won’t kid you it’s a hard one to cope with. One of the things we, as a family, do is share funny stories about the one we've lost. Or a special memory. A time of, do you remember when…? We gather together and celebrate the life of the one we've lost. Yeah, we cry and we laugh. But it helps remind us that we’re together and of the beauty of life and the endurance of love.

Laughter unites people during difficult times. Laughter gives you the courage and strength to find new sources of meaning and hope. Even in the most difficult of times, a laugh—or even a smile—can go a long way toward making you feel better. Laughter also creates psychological distance, which can help you avoid feeling overwhelmed.

While I have my serious moments I don’t take myself too seriously. I love laughter and I indulge in it frequently. I’m drawn to people who like to laugh. I also look for other ways to enjoy humor and laughter. 

You tube has god knows how many clips of funny things. Usually something from movie I enjoyed. For instance, there were some funny scenes in The Avengers—I love the scene where the Hulk beats the snot out of Loki and walks away after calling him a puny god. 



I like to watch movies that make me laugh. I like to make time for fun things like bowling, miniature golfing, swimming, a barbecue with friends, or a game night of cards or board games.



Life is so much better when you share laughter. Laughter really is the best medicine!

References: Web MD, Organic Health, Medical News

Monday, July 7, 2014

MONDAY'S MUSING: IMMERSING MYSELF IN LIFE

“The tragedy of life is not death…but what we let die inside of us while we live.” ~Norman Cousins



Have you ever interacted with someone who is negative and bitter? Had a conversation with someone who has nothing to share but life’s catastrophes? How do you feel?

I'm a skilled conversationalist and in those situations where someone joins the conversation and removes all laughter and fun from the conversation, resists all gambits to change the subject or a nudge toward good and fun c'mon there has to be something good in their life, right? I can't wait to get away. 

Sometimes people need to be heard and validated. They need a compassionate ear and there is nothing wrong with taking the time to listen. I do frequently. Where I have to draw the line is if the pattern is a self-repeating loop and it doesn't matter what you say or do, this is the road they're on and it's venomous to anyone around them. It encases your feet in quicksand, swallows the light, sucks up the oxygen and beats against any joy or good. 

And it’s heartbreaking to see and interact with someone who has let the light within die.

Sadder still, is the fact you can’t fix people, no matter how much you love them. And you wish you could. 

A hard lesson learned in life:  the only one who can effect change is each individual. Only they have the power and ability to change what they are or their attitude toward life. If we believe anything else we’re beating our heads against a wall.

Spider webs in the early morning
No matter what happens in our life and granted there are many tragedies in life, the only thing we have control over is our self and our attitude. There is still good things to be found in life regardless of our circumstances and beauty in abundance if only we allow ourselves to open our eyes and see it. Absorb it.


San Francisco 
And it’s not the big things that bring quiet joy and add to our collection pieces of happiness. It’s the little things. A snatch of song that makes us tap our feet or sigh at the exquisite play of notes, watching the sunrise or sunset and soak in the scents and sounds and seeing the richest colors and textures. Watching the seagulls dip and sway over the ocean or the otters bobbing in the waves. Even the ugliest city, by day, is beautiful when it’s lit up at night. City lampposts whose light hide the ugly and give a mythical feel to the streets.

City Lampposts computer wallpaper

Ever watch the uninhibited laughter of children? You can’t help but grin or laugh in response. Our children saying, I love you, or the smell of a child after a bath, snuggling beside you and wanting a story. What a feast for the eyes to see the dance of the butterflies over a field of wildflowers or coming across a beautiful spider web collecting the mist of the early morning. The scatter of drops of dew shining like diamonds as the sun rises. Watching the skies turn charcoal gray and darker clouds racing and churning across the horizon and how green the trees and vegetation is against such a backdrop. I love the smell of rain in the air. The wonder of fireflies rising in the summer night.

Thing like these renew my spirit. I choose to immerse myself in life. To see the wonder of it all. To grab the little things and celebrate. I choose to let go of toxic and destructive emotions and steer clear the people who foster them. 

Life is too short and precious to do otherwise.  J 

“The control center of your life is your attitude.” ~Norman Cousins

Pictures taken either by me (most of them), from my wallpapers collection, or from wiki commons